Tasty Two-Stroke: 1985 Yamaha RZ350 for Sale

1985 Yamaha RZ350 L Side Front

I’ve only recently become an acolyte in the Church of Smokers. Growing up, I mostly heard them in the context of dirt bikes ripping up and down our street, and the angry, mechanical-insect noise isn’t really the sexiest… But I’ve opened my mind to the antisocial little things, and this bike might make a great introduction to two-stroke ownership.

Sold between 1984 and 1985 in the US, the Yamaha RZ350 was powered by a liquid-cooled, two-stroke parallel-twin that displaced 347cc’s. This long-serving powerplant was introduced in 1983, with variants finding home in select Yamahas until 2006.

1985 Yamaha RZ350 R Front

Evolved from the RD350, the RZ added liquid-cooling and Yamaha’s torque-enhancing power-valve technology dubbed, originally enough, “YPVS.” Can you guess what that stands for? This computer-controlled system helped to smooth out the traditionally peaky power delivery of the two-stroke, plumping the mid-range for improved street usability.

1985 Yamaha RZ350 Dash

A terror on back roads of the time, the RZ350 was literally one of the best-handling bikes you could buy at any price. Remember, this was before the GSX-R750 was introduced, and while many bikes made more power, they were usually correspondingly heavy and unwieldy: the RZ was light and nimble, with a powerband that needed chasing and a gearbox that rewarded the rider for doing so, a real enthusiast’s motorcycle.

1985 Yamaha RZ350 R Side Tank

From the original eBay listing: 1985 Yamaha RZ350 for Sale

Fresh Paint about 5 years ago
Frame was powder coated
Couple of chips in front fender and a couple of nicks in stickers but otherwise paint is sparkling.  Looks like a new bike!
DG – Pipes
K&N Air filter
Aluminum battery box
Engine Stock
Never Raced
In the family since 1990
New Battery
#’s match

Bidding is active and there are just a couple days left on the auction, with the Reserve Not Met at $3,900. These can really run the gamut in terms of quality and state of tune. This one is largely stock and has been repainted, but ridden, which is as it should be.

1985 Yamaha RZ350 L Front

The RZ is the epitome of a “useable classic:” these are fun to ride, with plenty of power. They’re striking to look at with a strong community of experts and amateurs to help you keep your little bumblebee buzzing. Parts availability is excellent and  includes a wide range of updated parts, owing to the long production run of these two-strokes into the modern era, with many parts easily retrofitted to improve reliability and performance.


1985 Yamaha RZ350 R Rear

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4 Responses

  1. Jess says:

    I raced a white/red RZ in the mid 80’s, totally used it up. Alot of bang for the buck, fun to ride. It was one of those “more smiles per mile bikes” Looking at this add gives me the smoker twinge again. Maybe not a bad thing! Go ahead Tad, get a ride on the smoker side!

  2. tad says:

    I’d love to, but my next bike should probably be something slightly PRACTICAL: I already have a sexy Italian musclebike and a track bike… So something sport-tour-y might be wise to add. Although I have considered buying a two-stroke to replace the Daytona as a track bike: a nice Aprilia RS250 would fit the bill! Also saw some nice RGV250s at the track this summer, and some guys running 500s as well that sounded really cool, although one of those might kill me.

  3. shad says:

    Wish the chain was on the other side one of these engines would be sweet in my rs 125. And why is this posted here and not on rsbfs?

  4. tad says:

    I write for both sites, and this bike sorta straddles both in terms of content… Hoping to have another vintage TZ up over there today or tomorrow.